Patch Sewing Tips from
"You need more than
just a sewing machine that will sew thick leather to do it
|A Note: It looks so
simple ~ just sew a patch on a vest or jacket.Often it only takes a very
few minutes but once that patch is sewn on your leather the holes are
permanent. So very much more goes into it; whoever is sewing for you
should know some important fact about sewing leather as well as be
familiar with function and form. It was suggested that this page will give
away my "trade secrets" ~ with a grin I replied: "I don't think so."
I've put this page in my site because I freely share this information
with my customers as needed or desired. I like to know that my customers
feel comfortable and are pleased with my work.
What this page is
intended to do is provide some basic facts for anyone who might be having
leather alterations done and especially a patch sewn on.
There a 2
very important things that I think outweigh every other
consideration:Don't have a patch sewn on unless you are absolutely
positive you want it in on your leathers and that you're satisfied with
the location the patch is to be sewn. If there's any doubt whatsoever,
wait. Once that patch is sewn on, there will always be holes where the
needles punctured the leather. * its YOUR leather, you paid good money for
it; * its YOUR patch ~ you paid good money for it too; * and now you're
paying to get sew it on for you. Where and how you want your patch sewn on
on is the #1 priority. The bottom line decision of where you want your
patch is yours ~ your decision is what counts. I also believe knowledge of
important details about leather and sewing are very important to customer
satisfaction. With this in mind, I try to make sure my customers have the
following information about my sewing and their leather:
|The Importance of
Regardless of the repair and/or type of
leather, make sure the thread being used has absolutely no cotton fibers
in it whatsoever. The most common thread available to the general public
is 50/50 Cotton/Polyester; this is generally the thread most people have
in their sewing gear.
Why be concerned about the type of thread being
used to sew on your leather? Because, as a result of the tanning process
of most biker leathers, a substance called "tannin" is within the leather
itself. The cotton fiber in thread and the tannin will rot each other
I use 100% nylon or 100% polyester thread for all of my leather
sewing. Even nylon or polyester threads can be old and rotten. No person
sewing leather should ever hesitate to give you a piece of the thread they
are using on your leather so you can test the strength of the thread being
used. Also, anyone sewing on your leather should be know why the type of
thread being used is important.
patch is sewn on a vest, jacket or other lined item, the lining should not
get puckered up or have excessive folds in it. I encourage my customers to
look at the inside of their garment ~ the lining should be smooth and not
cause the garment to misshape in any manner whatsoever. (Eg, the lining
in a jacket should not be pulled sideways under the patch so that the
jacket fits strange or awkward after the patch is sewn
Special note about sleeves and shoulder
patches: When having a patch sewn on the shoulder of a jacket,
caution should be taken to leave enough lining available at the cuff of
the sleeve for the bend of the elbow (Eg, never put a patch on with the
shoulder with the sleeve lining stretched tight from the cuff to the
shoulder. The result will be that, when the jacket is on and the elbow is
bent, the lining might either tear away from the cuff or the leather will
"cup" so as to make the cuff not fit properly.)
Clothing items are generally
made piece mill at the factory. The visual center of the back of a vest or
jacket, for example, may not be the ACTUAL center of the garment if you
were to measure it. No one is going to inspect your patch with a ruler but
they will with their eye; a visual center placement is sometimes preferred
to actual measurement. (ps.... if someone is close enough to you and/or
your patches to start measuring ~ they're too close! And, if they've got a
ruler in their hand... well, ... you decide what you would do but I know
what I'd do.
Garments are intended to fit the body’s form which means
they roll, twist and bend when you are wearing them. When a garment is
laying flat and you’re trying to figure out where and how to put the
patch, sometimes the patch will look straight and in the exact place you
want it when the garment is laying flat. A good example is a patch in the
upper portion of a vest. It will look straight laying flat but when you
put the vest on with the patch sewn down, you may see that the direction
of the patch change with the contour of the garment as it fits your body.
I believe its always a good idea to pin, glue or staple the patch in place
and try the garment on ~ especially in the lapel area of a vest ~ if
there's any doubt. By trying the garment on with the patch attached, you
can immediately see exactly how it will look when being worn.
On a vest
or jacket, anything placed in the upper portion of the front will present
itself as a type of "badge". What I mean this: when you look at someone's
face, your eyes automatically see what's also on the upper portion of
When putting a patch on the lower back of a jacket or
vest, try to place it a bit above the garment's edge so the patch doesn't
look like as if it might be ready to slide off. (Its a visual thing.
Also, ladies... give ample
consideration to the placement of patches in the bust
|Cautions & Special
Watch the vents on the back of a jacket ~ make
sure they are not sewn closed or prevented from working properly when a
large or wide patch is put on the back of a jacket.
When sewing a patch
on, stay out of the colors of the patch as much as possible.
the thread to match the patch or its edge. I often use "invisible" thread
on very colorful patches or patches with no outside edge ~ this way
there’s no black stitching to detract from the patch.
The edging of the
patch should NOT be trimmed ~ unless its to even up the overall appearance
of the patch. The outer edge (often simply black felt-like material) is
where most stitching will occur. (I had a customer who trimmed all excess
material off of the edges of a patch and left no area for me to stitch it
down except in the colors of the patch.)
|Problem Solving with
Is your sleeve lining sticking out of your
sleeves at the cuff? Put a patch on the shoulder or sleeve edge. (Again,
remember that caution should be taken to leave enough lining available for
the bend of the elbow as stated above.)
Does the lining of your jacket
or vest hang down past the garment edge in the back? A patch might again
be the answer to this problem ~ provided the person sewing takes care to
move the lining in a manner appropriate to eliminate this
Naturally a hole or other major flaw can easily be covered
with a patch.
|"Folk Lore" I've heard in the shop
A lot of information circulates about
patches, where to sew them, etc, etc. This is some of the more recent
"gossip". Some validity can be attached to each of these but the bottom
line to me is always its your leather, your patch and sew it on where and
the way you want it.
Flags: should be
placed in such a manner so as to appear to be blowing in the wind in the
correct direction as it would when you ride. (eg, if the flag is on
your arm, the red stripes should be towards your back so that the patch is
not "blowing backwards" when you wear it) true patriotism is
exemplified by the patch being placed over the heart (on the left)
while others say the flag patch should be placed on the right.. where your
hand would be placed if the Pledge of Allegiance were being recited.
Eagles should always face forward (eg, towards the middle of the chest
rather than outward towards the arm if on the front or towards the front
of the garment if on the sleeve)
Many other ideas float through my
shop but these are the most consistent.
The only conflict I've found
in these two ideas is if you put the smaller HOG patch on one sleeve and a
flag on the other. In this event, you'd have to put it the HOG patch on
the left sleeve so the eagle is facing inward and this makes the flag
patch on the right sleeve "fly backwards." Decisions, decisions.
etc, etc. And you thought it was just a simple thing to sew a patch on???
That all you needed was a machine that would sew leather??? Guess
These are but a very few of the automatic considerations which
should occur before, during and after you have a patch sewn on. Now you
have the basic information I use on a daily basis and I wish you success
in finding just the absolutely perfect patch you want to wear.
Patch Sewing Tips from BikerStyle.com BikerStyle - P O
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